Source: Alamy Stock Photo
Scotland's first heroin assisted treatment service was opened in Glasgow city center. However, one pharmacist involved in the design of the service said that a drug consumption room was "urgently needed" to stand by.
The Ministry of the Interior's Enhanced Drug Treatment Service (EDTR) will provide diamorphine to patients with heroin addiction who have not responded to other treatments.
Currently, patients are recruited for the service, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of December 2019. Patients will self-administer the drug under the supervision of the on-site clinical staff and must commit to visit the clinic twice a day, seven days a week. Up to 50 patients can use the service at the same time.
In addition to receiving diamorphine, users of the service are offered addiction counseling and social welfare support, including advice on housing and services.
Scotland has the highest number of drug-related deaths in the EU, and the drug-related death rate per capita in Scotland is almost three times higher than in the UK as a whole. National Records for Scotland's latest data show that in 2018, 1,187 drug-related deaths were recorded in Scotland. One third of these deaths (33%) occurred in the area of the Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Board.
Carole Hunter, chief pharmacist in Addiction Services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, was involved in the design of the service.
She said that pharmacists have a "key role in the development of the service" and are "an integral part of the staff for enhanced drug treatment". Stuart Notman, an advanced addiction pharmacist at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, is the service implementation manager. The EDTR employees include pharmacists Regina O & Hara and Roddy Duncan, as well as two pharmacy supervisors.
Hunter said the original The plan published by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in 2016, based on the recommendations in "Taking Back The Chaos: The Health Needs of People Who inject drugs in public areas in downtown Glasgow" based, "set up a shared drug room and a heroin-assisted treatment service housed in the same building." So far, however, the Home Office has not been granted permission for a drug consumption room.
"A drug-use facility provides a safe injection room every day for hundreds of people. This facility is still urgently needed in Glasgow and we will continue to pursue the evidence-based case to solicit the necessary regulatory approvals or changes to allow it to be piloted in Glasgow, "Hunter said.
"One element alone is not enough to eliminate all the drug-related harm done to this population. A comprehensive approach to harm reduction, including all harm reduction measures including an area for drug use, is needed. "
Catriona Matheson, Chair of the Scottish Drug Deaths Task Force, said she was" very supportive "of the Glasgow EDTR and would support similar services elsewhere if deemed sufficient.
"Since the number in this one clinic is low, considering the scale of the problem we have, there will be no significant impact in Scotland – but there is a possibility of a significant reduction in harm to the people involved "Matheson said, adding," An evaluation is taking place and we are waiting with interest for the results. "
" However, the evidence for heroin-assisted treatment is already strong. I do not think it is necessary to wait for these results before starting to evaluate the need for similar services elsewhere. Quote: The Pharmaceutical Journal
DOI: 10.1211 / PJ.2019.20207404